.NET MAUI - FREE Early Access Preview of Multi-Platform App UI Controls (v21.2)

In this post, I’ll describe some of the MAUI controls we expect to ship in November 2021 and describe how you can get your hands on an early access preview (EAP) today. Before I begin, however, two quick reminders:

  • Our Xamarin UI components are available free-of-charge. If you have yet to obtain your free copy of our Xamarin controls, please visit https://www.devexpress.com/xamarin/ to register for this free offer.
  • If you are not yet familiar with Microsoft’s .NET Multi-Platform App UI (MAUI) platform or how Microsoft has positioned MAUI (the evolution of Xamarin Forms), please take a look at Carl Franklin’s interview with Jonathan D, a developer on Microsoft’s MAUI team and Carl’s interview with James M, a well-known Xamarin-MAUI community influencer. Both videos are available on the DevExpress YouTube Channel.

Prerequisites to Test DevExpress Controls for .NET MAUI Preview 5

If you’re ready to explore the capabilities of our .NET MAUI controls (Data Grid and Charting library for mobile development), please consider the following important prerequisites:

  1. Check out Microsoft's most-recent installation guidance for .NET MAUI. As of July 7th, the DevExpress MAUI EAP requires Microsoft.Maui 6.0.100-preview.5.794 (this dependency will change for future MAUI previews).
  2. Register https://nuget.devexpress.com/free/api as a package source in your Visual Studio, if you are NOT an active DevExpress Universal​ customer or have NOT yet registered our free Xamarin UI controls (otherwise, this MAUI preview will be available in your personal NuGet feed automatically). Make sure the Include prerelease option is checked.
  3. Browse your NuGet feed to locate required DevExpress.Maui.* packages.
Early Access and CTP builds are provided solely for early testing purposes and are not ready for production use. This EAP may not include all MAUI features/products we expect to ship in our v21.2 release cycle. As its name implies, the EAP offers an early preview of what we expect to ship in 4-5 months.

What's Included

Bullet-Proof & High Performance Core

Like DevExpress Xamarin UI controls, our MAUI controls are written in Objective C for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android and are seamlessly integrated with the MAUI platform using its "Handlers”.

What our native control "wrapper" approach means for you and your end-users?

  • You can deliver unmatched performance, usability, and functionality to your end-user AND do so using Visual Studio, C# and .NET 6 (what’s under the hood "just works").
  • DevExpress UI controls abstract the complexities of native mobile development - our developers did the dirty work for you (= dealt with difficult programming languages and platform specific headaches).
  • Speed, speed, and more speed. For instance, DevExpress MAUI Charts use OpenGL graphics rendering with C++ for the best possible performance on mobile devices, even with millions of points. Our data grid scrolling performance is second to none (when compared to our current competitors). We will publish detailed performance metrics in the coming weeks.

MAUI Data Grid

Our high-impact and feature-complete MAUI grid is included within the DevExpress.Maui.DataGrid NuGet package and ships with the following  built-in features:
  • Large Dataset Support / High-Performance / Smooth Scrolling
  • Multi-Column Sorting
  • Data Summaries, Grouping and Filtering API
  • Pull To Refresh, Load More and Swipe Support
  • Row Drag & Drop
  • Multi-Row Cell Layout
  • Dark and Light Themes,
  • and much more - please check out the full description for our Xamarin Grid to see what to expect from its MAUI counterpart.

Getting Started Tutorials & Examples

MAUI Charts

Our comprehensive collection of 2D chart types is included within the DevExpress.Maui.Charts NuGet package and ships with the following built-in features:

  • Financial Charts / Area, Bar, Line, and Spline Charts
  • Point and Bubble Charts / Pie and Donut Charts
  • High-Performance Real-Time Data Updates
  • Smooth Navigation and Zoom / Series and Point Selection
  • Point and Segment Colorizers
  • Multiple Axes / Tooltips, Crosshair Cursors
  • Dark and Light Themes
  • and much more - please check out the full description for our Xamarin Chart to see what to expect from its MAUI counterpart.

Getting Started Tutorials & Examples

Known Issue: our first MAUI preview only supports Android. MAUI is still in active development and we had issues with the platform itself and control use within iOS (both emulator and real devices). See the following Microsoft issue for more information: GitHub: Cannot deploy MAUI app to an iOS device.

Future Plans

In one of our next DevExpress MAUI previews, we will publish NuGet packages for our MAUI Collection View, Data Editors library, and Navigation Controls. We will support iOS for the aforementioned MAUI controls as well. Ultimately, we want to keep up with the Microsoft previews and port all existing Xamarin Forms UI controls to MAUI in the coming months.

Once we port all MAUI controls, we want to implement TOP user requests for Xamarin controls across our MAUI component suite. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Migrate to and leverage the power of the DevExpress.Data library (we are currently using a clone). This will help us deliver a seamless user experience for DevExpress customers who have used our WinForms, WPF and ASP.NET components in the past.
  • Template Gallery support. This will allow customers to create mobile apps more quickly. We may integrate MAUI controls into the Unified Component Installer (though 90MB size increase is a concern) or rather redistribute a VSIX from the Visual Studio Marketplace.
  • Multiple enhancements to data editors like chips, simplified localization, auto column width in the grid, and much more.

Of course, we will also publish online documentation, more GitHub examples and videos on our YouTube channel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is .NET MAUI different from Xamarin Forms?

If you're using Xamarin.Forms today, MAUI should be a painless transition as it represents an evolution of Xamarin.Forms – the two platforms have many similarities. For more information, see Xamarin.Forms Are Available Free-of-Charge | Transition to .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI).

Is technical support included with the free MAUI preview?

No, this free MAUI preview does not include technical support from DevExpress. Technical support for DevExpress MAUI controls is only available if you own the DevExpress Universal Subscription.

How can I report bugs or share suggestions on DevExpress MAUI development?

If you encounter a bug, please submit a bug report via our online support system: https://www.devexpress.com/ask. For suggestions to our development team, please complete our survey.

Is the source code included in this free MAUI preview?

No. Component source code is not included in this offer.

Will DevExpress MAUI controls be available free of charge once they are released?

We have NOT finalized our product delivery model for MAUI – we may continue to offer our MAUI controls free of charge OR we may bundle them with an existing DevExpress Subscription.

Will your MAUI controls support desktop form-factor (Windows, Linux, macOS)?

We are excited about the capabilities that .NET MAUI offers for cross-platform UI development. We will finalize our plans for desktop support in our MAUI controls in early 2022. In particular, we look forward to further MAUI evolution for Windows (we also ship WinUI controls). As far as I know, Microsoft also has given higher priority to Windows and WinUI support than Linux and macOS at this stage.

Your Feedback Counts!

If you are currently using Xamarin Forms, considering MAUI, or just investigating your options, feel free to comment below, we’ll be happy to follow-up. Thanks for considering DevExpress for your development needs.

Free DevExpress Products - Get Your Copy Today

The following free DevExpress product offers remain available. Should you have any questions about the free offers below, please submit a ticket via the DevExpress Support Center at your convenience. We'll be happy to follow-up.
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